Magazine article The Christian Century

The Belgian Girl Adele Brisse Sees the Madonna in the Woods, 1858

Magazine article The Christian Century

The Belgian Girl Adele Brisse Sees the Madonna in the Woods, 1858

Article excerpt

Between a maple and a hemlock, she told people, the sort of detail That makes you believe she saw what she said she saw. There was A blinding light that slowly assumed form, she said. The Lady had Auburn hair, another one of those details that gives you the shivers. This first time the Lady did not say anything, only smiled radiantly, Which is precisely the sort of vision of the Madonna we would like, I suspect, all of us--an opening vision, a prelude, an initial meeting, To feel each other out. No one ever considers what She might think. She might be just as nervous and overwhelmed as the terrified child, You know? She might not be totally sure She's at the right visitation Site--is She supposed to be in Wisconsin, or somewhere in Borneo? Nor did She say a word when She appeared again between the trees. She must have been starving to touch a tree, after eighteen centuries. Wouldn't you be? Maybe an apparition isn't so much a message gig As it is Her bathing again for just a few moments in this wild world. Maybe when She visits us it is a gift to Her. Maybe She is desperate To smell coffee and manure and cottonwood and the musk of minks. The third time, five long months after the first two, early in October, Adele finally asked questions, sensibly beginning with who are you? …

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